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5G Converged SDN Transport

Unleash 5G with truly open and converged SDN Transport optimizing connections between access networks and the RAN.

Simplified Open Access

Cisco 5G Converged Software-Defined Network (SDN) Transport is a proven architecture that delivers mobile 3G, 4G, 5G, and wireline services over one common, simple IP transport infrastructure. It provides improved network timing, quality-of-service, resiliency, and security. Software defined, open RAN and packet core configurations give you the freedom and flexibility to direct services across any transport throughout your entire network.

Impacts to business outcomes


Savings in CapEx


Savings in OpEx


Faster time-to-service

Read ACG TCO report

Cisco Open Access IP/Ethernet architecture

The architecture connects all categories of the mobile network infrastructure, including fronthaul, midhaul, and backhaul. It utilizes a unified forwarding plane with traffic steering capabilities, statistical multiplexing across the network, and consistent end-to-end operations administration and maintenance (OAM) to deliver the most efficient use of resources with scalability.

  • Purpose-built for software defined 5G mobile networks that support enhanced mobile broadband, ultra low-latency, and massive IOT use cases.
  • Designed for seamless optimization and automation that delivers industry-leading economics and operational KPIs from the client to the cloud.
  • Incorporates trustworthy network features from the inside out.
  • Industry-validated for open vRAN deployments to drive flexibility and choice in future radio selection and end-to-end network slicing.

5G Converged SDN Transport in action

Learn how Rakuten Mobile Network Inc. is virtualizing its entire network to offer consumer mobile, NB-IoT, and fixed wireless connections.

See how Colt made their Colt IQ Network the perfect match for 5G with on-demand flexibility, scalability, reliability and capacity. Colt was able to reduce costs, self-provision, and extend SLAs to 5G applications.

Benefits of Cisco 5G Converged SDN Transport


Reduces capital expenditures with a single converged network that delivers physical access independence across microwave, fiber, and cable for “last connection”.

Provides faster, simpler automated operations, provisioning, and management, which lowers operating expenses.

Helps shift compute loads to the edge with multi-access edge compute (MEC).

Offers freedom from proprietary interfaces using Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) and improved archiectural flexibility for radio placement (RRH, DU, and CU) with no radio vendor lock-in.

The building blocks

Deploy an end-to-end transport solution with products that support fronthaul (eCPRI), midhaul, and backhaul. Embrace emerging RAN standards for an all-IP network across 5G services types (eMBB, ULLRC, mMTC) and wireline services. 

NCS 500 Series xHaul

The Cisco NCS 500 Series is a highly secure converged access-routing platform in both fixed and modular form factors that meets the demands of trusted 5G xHaul, cable CIN applications, and TDM-IP.

ASR9000 Series

The ASR 9000 Series routers are the modular, high density, power efficient, and secure cornerstone of advanced carrier edge networks.

NCS 5500 Series

An advanced routing platform powered by Cisco IOS XR software. It delivers high density, high routing scale, and ideal buffer sizes, to help satisfy any transport use case.

Technical documentation

Converged Packet Transport for 5G

As 5G new radio (NR) standardization progresses, transport networks must be re-architected to support 5G applications at scale. See Cisco 5G transport network evolution with a converged packet network capable of addressing all 5G use cases, as well as diverse mobile and fixed services.

Optimizing Converged 5G xHaul Transport

Evolve your transport network architecture to cost-effectively deliver an optimized mobile broadband experience. You can meet the scale requirements for massive Internet of Things (IoT) and the ultra-low latency requirements for real-time applications.